Thief who stole Banksy work in Ukraine faces up to 12 years in prison

1 min read
Hostomel, UKRAINE - The mural by England-based street artist Banksy depicts a woman in a gas mask standing on a chair and holding a fire extinguisher in Kyiv. Credit line: BACKGRID / Backgrid USA / Profimedia

The Prosecutor General’s Office in Kiev has initiated proceedings against the thief of a Banksy mural. 

The man, together with several accomplices, cut a picture by the British street artist out of a wall in the Kiev suburb of Hostomel at the beginning of December. 

The proceedings are directed exclusively against the man for theft under martial law, the authorities said. He now faces up to 12 years in prison.

“He was aware of the value of the work and planned to sell the graffiti and dispose of the funds received as he saw fit,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said on Monday. “To do this, he enlisted the help of men who were unaware of his intentions, whom he assured that he had all the necessary permits to dismantle the mural.”

Residents at the time had observed the picture of a woman in a dressing gown with curlers, a gas mask and a fire extinguisher being cut out of the wall and called the police. 

The painting was seized and the Ministry of Culture will decide on its fate.

The identity of Banksy is unknown. In November, it had become known that the artist had left several works in the suburbs of Kiev affected by the Russian war and in the Ukrainian capital itself. Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. ©dpa

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